Cameron: Give the UK's health records to Google
Government should look to Wikipedia for inspiration
David Cameron has repeated his pledge to cancel the ContactPoint database and the ID card scheme if the Tories win the next election.
Speaking at the weekend, Cameron said the Tories would also look closely at the National Programme for IT - the controversial and expensive NHS modernisation programme.
Echoing last September's policy review, he called for a decentralised approach to replace the highly-centralised project.
Cameron singled out the "Electronic Patient Records system" as an example of Labour's wasteful spending. Imagining how the Tories might have implemented such a project, Cameron said: "You don’t need a massive central computer to do this. People can store their health records securely online, they can show them to whichever doctor they want... But best of all in this age of austerity, a web-based version of the government’s bureaucratic scheme services like Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault cost virtually nothing to run."
Google and Microsoft have both lobbied hard to get their hands on medical records in the US and elsewhere. Winning such a contract would guarantee revenue for years to come as well as provide a central reason to increase the use of their technology in healthcare - a new but growing market. There are also concerns about the use of anonymised records for pharmaceutical research.
Suggesting such a solution would be free is either wishful thinking or naivety. Likewise, a true handing over of responsibility to patients for their own data would be radical, even if not entirely practical - patients might not always be in a condition to hand over access to their own records.
There is no doubt that the NPfIT is a shambles - the National Audit Office reckons it is four years behind schedule. But the Summary Care Records project is fairly well advanced - hospitals and primary care trusts have spent millions on it already. The Royal Free reckons the project cost £16m. Given how contracts are written, it is likely that the Tories would have to pay almost as much to get out of the contract as to complete it.
A spokesman for the Tory Party was unable to give us any further details of how this may work. The British Computing Society is currently reviewing the NPfIT for the Tories, and its report is due in late summer. ®
The BCS did a presentation at my University, and afterwards the lecturer told us his take on BCS was not to bother. I had free membership for a year and cancelled afterwards; in other words I agree.
No point in BCS other than some people want it on their CVs: people who aren't in the know might think it's a good thing.
"Every general practice already has a server with a large number of (partial) records on it.
Leave them there.
They are connected by a hopefully secure TCP/IP network. Leave it there."
Provided all medical offices have a computer system of some kind it *should* be completely possible to assemble a local (temporary cache) copy of your *composite* record. New items become the local part of the record. Held locally.
Hmm. In principle your record becomes a "meta record," with links to chunks of local stuff and links remote parts. Gosh. Its a pseudo web page of patient data!
Worst case for data is likely to be an X-ray image (IIRC 6MB, 2048 pixels square, 12 bits a pixel)
So what kind of NHS wide deal could the NHS get for all hospitals?2Mbs symmetrical DSL at least?That's 24secs per X-Ray with no compression (no way IRL) so about 4 mins for 10 X-rays , interlaced with all other parts of someone's record. 10mins max to assemble your whole medical history ? Back up the cache so there are multiple secure (encrypted) copies in case of a doctor surgery having their server stolen or the locally generated stuff only?
Of course this way has no decade long £12.7 bn roll out of some standard (but likely to need heavy tailoring to fit) hospital management system. And defining really good APIs (data translation, queries, security and privacy etc.) takes real brains.
Surely Google would just sell ALL your data?
Surely Google would just sell ALL your data? Then you can get viagra pill pusher spam becasue according to your sold medical records you DO need it!